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Asbestos & Your Business: How it Impacts Renovations

Posted on March 5, 2012

It’s hard to imagine another word that has caused more concern when uttered for such a long time. This word has caused more project delays and cost over runs than any other that comes to mind. We are still constantly bombarded with advertisements from personal injury lawyers, promising you monetary relief from a product that was for the most part banned from use in 1989. In 1989 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) to prohibit the manufacture, importation, processing and distribution of asbestos-containing products. The ruling was overturned in 1993, however, allowing for certain asbestos-containing products to be manufactured in the United States. Over 20-years later we are still dealing with government regulations to handle asbestos. Because asbestos presents a significant risk to human health when released to air, asbestos is considered a hazardous air pollutant regulated under the EPA National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) regulations.

What are EPA NESHAP Regulations and How Do They Impact Your Business?

EPA NESHAP regulations are Federal regulations under the Clean Air Act (CAA) that apply to business owners and contractors. Asbestos NESHAP regulations address common business activities, such as demolition, renovation activities and waste disposal issues.

Asbestos has been used in the production of building components since the 1880’s with over 3600 different products available to the average consumer and business. In a report to congress in 1988, the EPA found that “friable” (easily crumbled and rendered air-borne) asbestos-containing building materials (ACBM) could be found in over 700,000 businesses.

NESHAP regulations require that prior to any renovation or demolition activities, you must first inspect your facility or the affected portion of your facility for the presence of asbestos-containing building materials (ACBM). An accredited Asbestos Inspector must perform this inspection. With over 3600 ACBMs out there it is critical that your business retain an experienced Asbestos Inspector who, in consult with an accredited Asbestos Project Designer, can make the word asbestos less painful to utter.

Written by  Stephen R. McPherson, Senior Safety & Health Professional, The Scott Lawson Group, Ltd. 

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